Timeline: Just after the passing of the torch in Turbo.
Dedication: I dedicate this fanfic to the late, great James “Ernest” Varney, a great actor who made millions laugh until they cried with his crazy on-screen antics. RIP.
Despite the fact that Tommy knew that he would have noticed this diner before, he felt himself drawn into the small cafe. Inside, there weren’t any customers, but there was an attractive young waitress behind the counter. “What’ll you have, cutie?” the woman asked.
Tommy glanced at the menu on the counter as he sat down at the bar. “I’ll have a coke, please,” he said.
“Right away,” the woman replied. She walked over to the tap and filled a glass, before handing it to Tommy. When he reached for his wallet, she stopped him. “Don’t worry about money. Here in the Infinity Cafe, everything’s free.”
“Thanks,” Tommy said. He took a long sip from his drink. “The Infinity Cafe, huh? No offense, but I’ve never heard of you.”
“Few people have, and no offense taken,” the woman said, “This place is very special. Some say that it gives you the chance to right wrongs that have happened in your life, and to give you a new lease on life, so to speak, but I’ve never seen proof of that.”
“Yeah, well, I learned a long time ago that anything’s possible,” Tommy murmured, “So, what’s your name?”
“I’m Tajia, Tommy,” the woman replied.
“How do you know my name?” Tommy asked. Tajia just gave him an enigmatic smile, before heading into the back. Shaking his head, Tommy sipped on his coke and looked around. The Infinity Cafe was rather simple, with several booths lining one wall and in the back, and a bunch of tables between the bar and the booths.
“So, what’s on your mind, Tommy?” Tajia asked, as she reappeared behind the bar.
Tommy turned back to her. “What do you mean?”
“Everybody that comes here is in search of help,” Tajia answered, “Whether it be for a peace of mind, to look for forgiveness, to regain a lost love, all of the above, or none of the above. So again I ask, what’s on your mind?”
Tommy sighed. “A lot of things,” he murmured.
“Why not start from the beginning?” Tajia inquired, “When was the first time you have ever been used, from any point of view? And don’t short change me. I know about your adventures as a Power Ranger.”
Tommy looked at her, not really surprised. “I guess it all started when I first became a Ranger,” he said, “Rita had kidnapped me and forced me into becoming the Green Ranger.”
Tajia nodded. “I thought you might start at that,” she replied, “You haven’t talked to anybody else about your exact experiences, or how you felt at the time, have you?”
Tommy shook his head. “I’ve been keeping it to myself,” he confirmed, “I thought that nobody would stand to be around me if the knew exactly what Rita made me do when I was under her employ.”
“You’d probably be surprised,” Tajia noted, “Your friends all knew how evil Rita Repulsa is, and that she would do anything to defeat them. Now, for your own peace of mind, would you tell me about what happened in the short time Rita had you brainwashed as the Green Morphin’ Ranger?”
Tommy sighed. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt,” he agreed softly, “What the others don’t know is that, before she sent me into battle against them and between battles, Rita made me go conquer planets. I was really only used in that perspective once, but once was more than enough.” His mind drifted back to the events as he described them.
It was just after Rita had bestowed the Sword of Darkness onto me. I had been very cocky, since I had just successfully tested its power upon the Rangers, and had won with little opposition.
Rita had sent me, Goldar, an army of putties, and an elemental dragon that called itself Malvolience to conquer a small planet, called Xaff. The whole planet was controlled by one monarch, whom I was scheduled to assassinate.
Even though I was supposed to be evil, I balked at the idea of actually going through with the job. “I can’t do it,” I had told Goldar, “Terrorizing people and taking on the other Rangers is one thing. Cold blooded murder is another.”
“You will do it, Green Ranger,” Goldar had growled, “Do you want her majesty’s wrath upon both of us for not going through with her orders?”
“If it means that I won’t assassinate the monarch, yes,” I had replied, “You might look forward to murdering innocent people, but I don’t.”
“Oh, so my Green Ranger is going against my orders, huh?” Rita asked, as she appeared suddenly. “Well, we can’t have that.” She pointed her staff and me, and before I could do anything to stop her, a beam of light issued forth and struck me.
“The beam turned out to be a booster of the control spell she had originally cast upon me to make me become her Green Ranger,” Tommy said, wrapping up his story, “It put me even more completely under her control.
“I went on to assassinate the monarch of Xaff. After the others freed me, I’ve been emotionally paying for that ever since, even though I know that it wasn’t me that killed him, but Rita’s Green Ranger. But...” Tommy lowered his head. “I don’t think I know the difference anymore.”
“What do you mean?” Tajia asked.
“I’ve killed cannon fodder and monsters without any qualms,” Tommy said, “I gave the order for killing both Ivan Ooze and Malligore. Even if it was in the defense of the planet, that still makes me a murderer.”
“You’re not a murderer, not in that respect,” Tajia insisted, walking around the bar and sitting down next to Tommy. “It was self defense. If you hadn’t killed them, they would have destroyed you and the Earth without thinking twice. As for what happened on Xaff, it was Rita’s Green Ranger, not you. There is a difference.”
Tommy could only nod, as her words sunk in. He started feeling a lot better, now that all of that was out in the open. “Thanks, Tajia,” he said.
“No problem,” Tajia replied, “Would you like something to eat and a refill while you tell me about what else is on your mind?”
“Sure,” Tommy answered. He glanced up at the menu again and made an order.
Tajia wrote it down and put it down on the little counter leading to the kitchen. “Now, back to you,” she said, as someone in the kitchen picked up Tommy’s order. “What’s next?”
“I guess that would be my feelings on when Kim was losing her powers, and when she was hurt,” Tommy murmured.
“How did you feel?” Tajia asked.
“Really awful, both times,” Tommy said, “I felt like I had let her down, especially when she got hurt right before she gave Kat her place on the team. I still feel like I let her down.” His mind drifted back to a conversation he had with Kim the night before she had been discharged.
“I’m so sorry, Kim,” I had murmured softly, as I sat down in a chair at Kim’s beside. I was crying.
“What for, Tommy?” Kim asked.
“I shouldn’t have left you alone,” I replied, “I should have insisted on going into the Youth Center with you.” I hung my head. “I let you down.”
“No, you didn’t, Tommy,” Kim said, gently raising my head so that she could look me in the eye. “Neither of us could know this would happen. You can’t beat yourself up over this. The doctors say that I should be fine after a good night’s rest.”
“Yeah, you’ll be fine physically,” I had said, “But what about mentally? What about emotionally. Can you honestly say that you’ll be able to get back on a balance beam again, after what has happened?”
Kim lowered her eyes. “I don’t know,” she admitted softly.
“See? I ruined your future in gymnastics,” I sobbed.
“You didn’t ruin it, Tommy,” Kim replied, “Rita and Zedd did. It was them that stole my coin, it was them that sent down Rito, Goldar, and the other goons for the battle that had me so disoriented that I fell, and it’s them that have been trying to drive a wedge in the team for a couple of years now. You can’t let them do that.”
I had then felt my tears drying up, as I realized that she had a good point. But I still felt really guilty over the whole thing. It was just my nature. “You’re right, of course,” I muttered, and laughed. “I feel silly now.”
“Don’t,” Kim said, “Just... come here.” Kim then pulled me close and gave me a big kiss.
“The next day, we found out that Kat had stolen Kim’s coin,” Tommy said, as his story started coming to an end. “Kat was the one who eventually got the coin back, and who conquered her own fear of water to help Kim overcome her fear of the balance beam. To thank Kat, Kim gave her the position of Pink Ranger, while Kim went to compete in the Pan Global Games.”
“That’s quite a story,” Tajia replied, “Here’s your food.” She slid the plate with his order over to him.
“Thanks, Tajia,” Tommy said, “How much do I owe you?”
“I told you before, it’s free,” Tajia answered, “Now, I can sense that there’s one more tale running through your mind, concerning heart break and a so called “romance” that’s about as phony as a three dollar bill. Care to talk about it?”
Tommy sighed. “You must mean Kim’s letter, and mine and Kat’s dating,” he said. Tajia nodded. “Well, it all started when Kim sent me a letter...” His mind started drifting away, back to when he had received the worst letter he would ever get.
When the letter arrived, I was at the Youth Center. My mom had found it in the mail and had brought it there. I had been lifting weights, and asked Adam if he would read it to me. The letter started out like any letter of Kim’s would, saying how much Coach Schmidt had her working, but then it took a turn for the worse.
“Tommy, this is the hardest letter I've ever had to write,” Adam had read, “You've always been my best friend, and in some ways, you're like a brother. But something has happened here that I can't explain. It's both been wonderful and painful at the same time. Tommy, I've met someone else.” He hesitated. “Maybe you’d better read this somewhere else.”
I had ripped the letter out of his hands. “Tommy, you know I would never do anything to hurt you,” I continued, “But I feel like I've found the person that I belong with. He's wonderful, kind, and caring. You'd really like him. Everything would be perfect if it weren't for hurting you. But I have to follow my heart. I will always care about you, Tommy. Please forgive me. Kimberly.”
“With those two lines, my world had been turned upside down,” Tommy finished, “After all that Kim and I had gone through, as Rangers, as friends, as a couple, and even as lovers, she dumped me in a letter. I still haven’t recovered from that.”
“If that happened to me, I’d doubt that I’d ever fully recover either,” Tajia admitted, “Have you found anybody to replace her?”
“No,” Tommy murmured softly, “I’ve tried dating twice since then, with her replacement, Kat, and a young woman named Heather before her, but neither worked out. I’m still desperately in love with Kim, and I can’t tell her. What do I do?”
“Just wait, Tommy,” Tajia said, “By the time you finish that meal, you’ll have an answer to that question. I’ve got to go to the bathroom, and I’ll probably be a while. Will you be all right by yourself?”
Tommy smiled. “Sure,” he answered, “Thanks, Tajia. I really needed a shoulder to cry on, so to speak, tonight.”
“You’re welcome, Tommy,” Tajia replied, before heading for the bathroom.
Kim walked into the Infinity Cafe. ‘That’s odd,’ she thought, ‘I’ve never noticed this place before.’ She had been out driving, after borrowing a car from Coach Schmidt, and had found this diner open. She had been unexplainably drawn inside. Kim found the Cafe empty. No one was at the bar, no one was at the booths, and no one was behind the bar. “Hello,” she called out.
“I’ll be there in just a second,” someone called back from the restroom. “Just take a seat at the bar, and I’ll be right with you.” Kim sat down on one of the stools at the bar. Unknown to her, Tommy was sitting right next to her. But she couldn’t see him, nor could he see her.
After a few minutes, a young waitress came out of the bathroom. “Oh, hello, Kimberly,” Tajia greeted the young gymnast. “How are you doing tonight?”
“I’m fine,” Kim said, “But who are you? How do you know my name?”
Tajia just smiled enigmatically. “Do you want anything to drink?” she asked, “Something to eat, maybe?”
“Um, a diet coke, please,” Kim answered, “And no thanks. I ate before I left Coach Schmidt’s training compound.
“Coming right up, Kim,” Tajia said, “I’m Tajia, by the way.” She extended a hand.
“Nice to meet you, Tajia,” Kim said, shaking hands with her new friend.
Tajia filled her up a glass of diet coke and handed it to her. When Kim reached for her purse, which was on the stool beside her, opposite Tommy, Tajia stopped her. “Don’t worry about it,” she said, “Everything is free here at the Infinity Cafe.”
“Thanks, Tajia,” Kim replied, before reaching for her glass and taking a sip. “I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but I’ve been living in Florida for a couple of years now, and I’ve never heard of this place.”
“It’s hard to explain exactly, and I can’t go into detail,” Tajia said, “But this place appears where it’s needed and draws in the people that need it the most. I’ve been here for a year, and I’ve been pretty much all over the known universe and then some.”
“That sounds awesome,” Kim said.
“Yeah, it is,” Tajia agreed, “But I bet my little adventures wouldn’t compare to some of yours, eh, ex-Pink Ranger?”
Kim wasn’t at all surprised that Tajia knew that she used to be a Power Ranger. “I guess not,” she answered. Remembering her days as the original Pink Ranger brought back memories that she wasn’t wanting to relive.
“I can tell something’s bothering you about you being a Ranger,” Tajia said, “Not directly, but of someone that was also a Ranger at the time. Someone really close to you, a boyfriend perhaps?”
“Ex-boyfriend, actually,” Kim replied softly, “I used to date Tommy Oliver, who was first the Green Ranger, then the White Ranger, and finally the Red Ranger. But I screwed all that up, with a few lines.”
Tajia nodded. “You mean ‘the letter’,” she said. Kim’s eyebrows lifted slightly at hearing the quotation marks emphasizing on those two words, but nodded. “Why did you send that letter, Kim? And don’t tell me you really did find someone else. I know better. I just don’t know the full truth.”
Kim sighed. “The real truth was that I was pregnant,” Kim said, “Tommy had been through so many major upheavals in his life, that I didn’t want to add to them. But I did, without really meaning to.”
Tajia nodded. “Tell me all about it,” she said. Kim thought back to the day she had sent the letter, the single day that changed her life in several ways, and not one of those ways turned out to be for the better.
“It’s confirmed, Miss Hart,” the doctor said, as he entered my examination room. “You’re a little over a month pregnant.”
I had sighed with relief. I had started to think that there was something terribly wrong with me, since I was throwing up all of the time. ‘I can’t believe I’m having Tommy’s baby,’ I had thought. “Is the baby all right?”
“We don’t know, at the moment,” the doctor replied, “We’ve called for OB to bring down a fetal monitor so we can check on it. But I don’t see any reason why it won’t be a normal, healthy child.”
“Good,” I replied. The fetal monitor was brought down about ten minutes later, and the doctor got it set up. A minute later, I was looking at my baby. “I guess it’s too early to tell the sex, huh?”
“I’m afraid so,” the doctor replied, “Now, there’s the heart beat, and... hmm, that’s interesting.”
“What is?” I inquired.
“Two heart beats,” the doctor answered.
“I’m going to have twins?” I asked. The doctor nodded, as he put up the equipment. He then gave me some numbers for support groups for women that are expecting twins, and the number of a good OB.
I had gone back to the compound, overjoyed that I was pregnant, with Tommy’s twins no less. It didn’t set in until a few days after I called to tell my mom about her being a grand-mother in nine months. I had been trying to get a hold of her since I found out, but hadn’t had the chance to talk to her. The same with Tommy.
“Are you sure that this is what you want, sweetie?” my mom had asked, “I mean, you can still have an...”
“A what? An abortion? Mom, I can’t believe you’re suggesting that,” I had replied, surprised. “I could never abort a baby, much less one that Tommy and I created. I would die before I did that.”
“Fine, don’t get an abortion,” my mom said, “But what are you and Tommy going to do, get married?”
“Maybe,” I challenged.
My mom laughed. “He would never marry you,” she said, “Men are bad that way, especially at his age. They say that they love you, and when something like this happens, they change their tune.”
“Tommy’s not like that, mom,” I insisted, “I know him. He’d drop everything, give up everything, and marry me if need be.” But doubt had started to creep into my mind, even as I said that. ‘Wouldn’t he?’ I added silently.
Mom and I had gone on to have a huge argument. She wanted me to forget Tommy, forget Angel Grove, and move to Paris with her. But I wouldn’t. I wanted a life with Tommy too much.
“The argument had ended with her yelling at me to only contact her when I came to my senses and wanted to come to Paris and hanging up on me,” Kim said, winding down her tale. “A few days later, the seed of doubt she had planted into my mind grew, and I sent Tommy the letter.
“I had the twins, who turned out to be one of each, shortly before I saw him again, during the Muiranthius fiasco,” Kim said, “So, as far as I know, he doesn’t have a clue about what really happened, and I was a lot less than forthcoming with details. I alienated everybody that I cared about, and who cared about me, in one fell swoop.”
“Where are the twins?” Tajia asked.
“Oh, I left them with Coach when I borrowed a car from him,” Kim replied, “I wanted some time alone, to think, and two screaming babies is the last thing I needed to that end.”
“Kim, what would you say if I told you that you could have another chance with Tommy?” Tajia wondered.
“I’d say that you were nuts, no offense,” Kim answered, “But I would love a chance to explain what happened, apologize to him, and, if possible... go back to the way things were before that stupid letter.”
“Then, close your eyes, tap your heels together, and say ‘There’s nobody better than Tommy’,” Tajia said. Kim looked at her like she had grown a third head. “Just kidding, but do close your eyes. I’ve got to get something from the bathroom, but I’ll be right back.”
“All right,” Kim said. Tajia headed for the bathroom, and Kim closed her eyes.
Tajia waited just inside the door, as the cafe phase shifted itself back to where Tommy was sitting. She then left the bathroom, flashing Tommy a smile. “Tommy, what would you say if I told you that you could get back together with Kim?” she asked.
“I’d say that you’re crazy,” Tommy answered honestly, “I mean, why would Kim want to come back to me, when she’s probably got a wonderful boyfriend in Florida, or possibly in Paris with her mom?”
“But would you like that?” Tajia asked. The cafe started phase shifting around them, but the waitress was the only one who could see what was happening, since she worked there.
“Yes, I would love it if that happened, but I know it won’t,” Tommy said. The phase shifting was complete, and Kim was again sitting right behind him, her eyes still closed.
“You’d be surprised at the power this diner has,” Tajia said, “Just turn around.”
Tommy turned, and his eyes widened when he saw Kim sitting next to him, her eyes closed. “Kim?” he queried.
Kim froze when she heard his voice. ‘It couldn’t be,’ she mused, turning and slowly opening her eyes. She almost fainted when she saw who was sitting next to her. “Tommy?” she whispered.
“Yeah, it’s me,” Tommy said.
“Oh, Tommy,” Kim murmured, flinging herself into his arms. “I’ve missed you so much, and I have so much to tell you.”
“I’ve missed you too, Kim,” Tommy replied, gently stroking her hair and back. “And I’ve got so much to tell you, too. Starting with... I love you. I’ve never fallen out of love with you, and I never willl.”.”
Kim let go of Tommy and reeled back, shocked. “You still love me, after all this time and after all I’ve done to you?” she asked. Tommy nodded, and tears appeared in the eyes of the first Pink Ranger. “Oh, Tommy, I love you, too. I made up the guy in the letter, because...”
“Because... why?” Tommy prompted softly.
“Because I was pregnant and scared,” Kim answered.
“Because you were... what?!?!”
Kim could see that she rocked him with that one part of a statement and decided to slow down her pace. “I was pregnant at the time I had sent you the letter, with twins,” she said, “I had just had a big fight with my mom, which ended with her leaving me out to dry.
“I was scared, Tommy,” Kim repeated, “Scared that when you found out about me being pregnant, you’d leave me like my mom did.”
“I would never do that, Kim,” Tommy said, “You, of all people, should know that. What was the fight about, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“It had started being about you,” Kim admitted, “Mom had demanded to know about what our plans would be after I told you. She laughed when I told her that we might get married, and told me that you would dump me the minute you found out.
“Then, she had wanted me to go to Paris and forget about you, Angel Grove, and everything,” Kim added, “But I wouldn’t... no, I couldn’t. I had to see you, tell you about our twins, and see where we would go from there. The argument had ended with her hanging up on me, saying only to call her when I’ve come to my senses and wanted to go to Paris to live with her.
“A few days later, when I was starting to get things ready to go to Angel Grove, her words came back to me,” Kim continued, “I was scared and confused, and I deluded myself into believing that what she had said about you was true. That’s when I sent the letter.
“After I sent the letter, I became even more confused,” Kim admitted, “I knew that I could never go back to Angel Grove or to you, and pride kept me from going to live with mom, so I started building a life in Florida.
“I am so sorry that I sent that letter, Tommy,” Kim finished, “I was just so scared and confused, I just let my mom brainwash me.”
“It’s all right, Kim,” Tommy murmured, “I forgive you. Now, what do you say we go get the twins, and talk about our future?”
“That’s sounds good to me,” Kim answered.
“Good luck, you two,” Tajia called out, as they headed for the entrance. Tommy and Kim both glanced back and waved.
“Thanks, Tajia,” Kim called back.
“Yeah, thanks for everything,” Tommy added.
“No problem,” Tajia said, waving back. When they stepped out the door, she sighed. “Too bad they’ll never remember what happened here,” she murmured, “I’d like to see those two again.”
But even as she said those words, Tajia knew that was the curse of the Infinity Cafe, that nobody but the employees could leave with their memories intact. All others would have their memories about what happened to them changed to exclude memory of the Cafe and Tajia.
“Well, no sense in brooding over it,” Tajia said, trying to cheer up. “Now, what’s the next assignment for the glamorous Infinity Cafe?” She glanced at a small black board. On it, there was a single hyphenated word written, “X-Files.”
To be continued... eventually
Notes from the author: This will eventually become a full blown
but I don’t have the time to get it really started for a few more
(August, at the earliest). Called “On this side of Infinity”, the
will touch upon several plot holes and threads in multiple shows (like
Rangers and X-Files) and will even have a few real life experiences (if
possible). Until the next chapter is written, ciao.